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Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers

Preventing Summer Learning Loss

21st CCLC programs can make a big difference in the lives of students by delivering summer learning opportunities. All children experience learning loss during the summer months when they do not engage in educational activities — this is known as the “summer slide” (Downey, et al, 2004). However, the effects are more striking for children from communities with fewer resources.

For example, one study shows that more than half the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities (Alexander et al, 2007). Every summer. this gap widens as children from well-resourced communities participate in enriching activities like summer reading, camps, family trips, and time spent visiting libraries and museums. Research also indicates that students from low-income families can lose more than two months of reading achievement, while their middle-class peers often show growth as a result of their respective activities (Cooper, 1996).

Quality summer programming can prevent the summer slide, and instead promote summer gains! Incorporate reading, writing, speaking and listening into summer projects as a way to build literacy skills through the warm summer months.

Learn more:

  • Watch and share Summer Learning Loss to help your program better understand the effects of the summer slide.
  • Encourage program staff to Know The Facts on summer learning loss.

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